media analysis “The Pill”

By Michelle Li

http://flyingicarus.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/the-pill.jpg

I’m currently taking J412 Love &Sex and media class this term. I really enjoy the discussion we have so far in terms of gender relations and media stereotypes. I found this very interesting article titled “50th Anniversity of the Pill” talking about the Pill’s influence and cultural context through @longreads on Twitter.

Writing long feature story is very hard and it is easy to “get lost.” When you have so many aspects to address of one issue, be organized and focused is very important. And that is something that makes this article stands out.

The article has a catchy introduction, taking the lead for example.

“There’s no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But everyone knows the Pill…. whose FDA approval 50 years ago rearranged the furniture of human relations in ways that we’ve argued about ever since.”

The transition between different paragraphs is very smooth. The author purposely drop down some hooks for readers by using statistics. Like the last sentence in the introduction: “Today more than 100 million women around the world start their day with this tiny tablet. So small. So powerful. But in surprising ways, so misunderstood.” Readers may wonder why it is misunderstood, some unrevealed secrets there. Then they will keep reading.

What I really like this article is that it not only limits to the Pill, but also see the invention of this medicine from a board historical context and background. The article addressed issue involving the “Social and Sexual Revolution” and its impact in terms of religion–“The Catholic Conundrum.” The author emphasized more than once that the Pill is not only a personal issue, its public influence is more profound.

Then the article zoomed out the larger problem impacting the entire society. This technique connected the reader, to the people involved and affected on a more personal level. The larger social background is that a new generation of feminists fought to expand the opportunities that the Pill made possible. It assisted in persuading colleges and graduate schools not to reject female applicants on the assumption that they would just wind up getting pregnant and dropping out. Since 1972, colleges, law schools and medical schools open the door for women, ending the gender discrimination in education.

The reporters covered both sides (the opposition and support) of the Pill, adding a necessary balance to this issue. I really enjoyed how the story focused on specific people’s views. Some of the authorities and experts quotes in here definitely add more weight in argument, like Dr. C. Lee Buxton, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale Medical School, and Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood of Connecticut.

About michelleqianli

Michelle QianLi is currently studying MCDM at University of Washington. She is a native-born Chinese and came to U.S. in 2008.
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